Many pianists practise as much as they can, but often complain that they are not good enough or that they just can't 'get it right.' Also, the majority of us simply do not have enough time to practise - full stop. Therefore we might think: if we have only ten or fifteen minutes a day, what's the point? If I don't have enough time to improve, why bother? And if this attitude continues, combined with feelings that we never have the 'proper' time to practise, we will never improve! Hence, millions of frustrated pianists are waking up every morning all over the world and instead of making small steps towards improvement, find themselves locked in this train of thought.
Here are nine simple steps, which I hope will help you to deal with this problem, and, gradually, transform your practice experience:
1. Accept that you do not have enough time to practise.
2. Commit to the belief that you do want to improve, that deep down in your heart you know that you want to be better, and that you are committed to making this happen.
3. Change the quality of your practice time. Even if you have 10 minutes a day, you can learn a lot if you change your attitude and state of mind.
4. Continuing from the third step, try to ban all your negative thoughts from your head during the time of your practice.
5. Centre yourself before practice: ideally do some yoga if you are a yoga practitioner, alternatively, you can practise meditation ( Watch GéNIA's Simple Meditation for All Musicians for a simple visualisation exercise)
6. Drink a glass of water (room temperature, unless you are feeling particularly hot!).
7. Do tree pose, if your practice allows it, for one minute on each side. If not, sit down with your back straight, close your eyes and start breathing deeply from your diaphragm. Try to breathe slowly and avoid breathing from the top part of your chest.
8. Either meditate (see Step 5), or try to imagine that your spine is like a stem growing from the earth up to the sky, and focus on it, whilst trying to lengthen it. Make sure that the crown of your head is directed towards the sky. Sit like this for three minutes. If time permits, extend this visualisation exercise to as much as ten minutes. If you need to, support your back with a cushion.
9. Once this is done, go to your piano. Plan in advance the time that you are going to spend on it and stick to it. Make sure that your phone is switched off, the room is warm and there is a plenty of soft light, so you don't have to strain your eyes.
Now this is your practice time. If you get yourself into this state every time before you start your practice, after ten days you will already notice how the quality of your practice time has improved.
Something else worth keeping in mind: for those times when you want to practice but don't have access to a piano, you still can do some great practice based on the ideas above and sitting with the music in front of you, doing the practice in your head rather than at the instrument. This is much harder, but is incredibly effective. And remember, that six Piano-Yoga® exercises (from the Preliminary Stage) are done away from the piano, so you can do these when the piano is not 'around.'
If you would like to know more about various ideas for practice, I encourage you to watch these YouTube clips from my tutorial or directly download my 4. 5 hour tutorial 'Transform Your Practice: A Complete 11 Stage Guide'. You may use the coupon 'JanOffer21' which will give you 10% off (active until the 31st of January, 2021).
Enjoy your practice!
With love and light,